Q: Is there still a need?
A: Absolutely. Since the summer of 2011 we have focused primarily on helping families cleanup and rebuild their residences. Even though some of that work is slowing down, in many ways the harder work of emotional and economic recovery is just beginning. One of the comments we hear is, ‘the closer to normal it gets, the more it hurts.” Thousands are still displaced, eking out a makeshift life in temporary housing. Thousands have lost loved ones, jobs, homes, and pride. Here at the gates of Hell there is certainly a need for the followers of Christ to walk alongside the people in their hurt and sing a song of the kingdom and the Jubilee.
Q: Why can’t relief organizations just keep funding you?
A: Their supplies are limited. We received grants from several organizations to fund our first year and get us on the field. Those organizations typically receive the bulk of their funding for a specific disaster within the first few weeks after that disaster–while it is still in the news. Then the giving basically stops. This means that for long-term response, it really comes down to the missionaries and workers on the field to raise their own support.
Q: Why don’t you just get a job on the field to support yourself?
A: It would cut down the amount of time and energy I would otherwise spend on the ministry itself. Here’s an example of my weekly schedule: Sunday is focused on worship and fellowship. Since January of 2013, we have been establishing a house church in our home. Discipleship takes time and effort. Monday we rest and get caught up on household stuff and focused family time. Tuesday through Saturday, Michiko and I focus on holistic, incarnational ministry–for the time being in the form of TRDI: an economic development initiative built upon insights from asset-based community development, appreciative inquiry, and ethnography. Any other full time or even part time work I took on would considerably handicap either our ministry or our family life.
Think about this, too: we live in the disaster zone–a rural fishing, factory, and farming village. Any jobs I might get would probably be a considerable distance away, or would be in competition with the local folks. I don’t want to steal anyone’s job!
Have another question? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it.